Dutch Uncles: True Entertainment (Memphis Industries) - review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Dutch Uncles

True Entertainment

Memphis Industries

Mar 29, 2023 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

Manchester UK’s Dutch Uncles are leading the charge to somehow make the ’80s cool again. If you lived through that bizarre decade, you probably breathed a sigh of relief when the calendar ticked over to 01/01/90. Not so for these chaps. If True Entertainment had been released in 1984, no one would have been surprised. In fact, it’s more of a surprise that it’s been released in 2023.

Although the band cites Gentle Giant, Focus, and early King Crimson as influences, True Entertainment sounds a lot like Feargal Sharkey of The Undertones fronting Men Without Hats. An interesting combination, I’m sure you’ll agree. Occasionally, it works. On “Exit Row,” an insistent bassline pushes the song forward, punctuated by some lovely synthesizer interjections. It reminded me a little of Peter Gabriel, but I don’t know why. “I’m Not Your Dad” has a whiff of fellow travelers Field Music about it and is all the better for that. The lyrics are delightfully oblique: “Why am I always smelling fat?/I’ve never heard of Christmas ham/The weekends two at a time/And nobody likes it like that.” No, I don’t know either, but it’s a fascinating turn of phrase, isn’t it?

“In Salvia” is another visit to the graveyard of ’80s keyboard sounds, but sadly it isn’t really worth the trip. Aside from the nostalgic instrumentation, there’s really very little here that sticks in the memory. “Dead Letter” ends the album on a slightly higher note, but it doesn’t stop True Entertainment from being rather disappointing. If you’re going to look back 40 years for your inspiration, don’t just stop at the hardware—dig a bit deeper and look and the songs, the melodies, and the playful approach that lifts a lot of the music from that period out of the ordinary. But don’t worry about the legwarmers and the dayglo shorts. No one needs to be reminded of those. (www.dutchuncles.co.uk)

Author rating: 6/10

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